Add Don Lemon to the long list of people who are not here for Ellen DeGeneres’ defense of Kevin Hart. Officially.
Hart appeared Friday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where the host revealed she had asked the Academy to rehire the comedian after he stepped down from hosting the Oscars amid backlash surrounding his homophobic history.
“This was to destroy me,” said Hart, ultimately telling DeGeneres he was “evaluating” his option to reaccept the gig. “Someone has to take a stand against the trolls.”
“They are going to win if you don’t host the Oscars,” DeGeneres replied.
"Apologizing and moving on does not make the world a better place for people who are gay or people who are transgender, being an ally does," says CNN's @DonLemon, reacting to the Oscars' openness to Kevin Hart's return https://t.co/ITGU3Uj2ez pic.twitter.com/4u48sfBF0U
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) January 5, 2019
“It’s important to me, it’s important to the LGBT community, and it’s important to the black community, and I am a proud member of both, so I feel obligated to speak out on this issue,” Lemon explained Friday evening on CNN Tonight.
The news anchor believes Hart has “somehow turned himself into a victim, instead of acknowledging the real victims of violent and sometimes deadly homophobia.”
“Kevin, if anything, this is the time to hear other people out, to understand why they might have been offended,” Lemon said. “I don’t see any meaningful outreach to the LGBT community.”
“Honestly, Ellen doesn’t speak for the whole community. We need to speak up for the young, black people, especially young black men, kids, in the LGBT community… They need to know that they have value and it’s okay to be who they are.”
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When did we get to the point where we forgot that we all learn, then we all have the ability to grow and with that growth comes a wealth of knowledge. You can’t change without a understanding of what GROWTH means. #Message #LiveLoveLaugh #HappySaturday …..Please grasp this and use it in 2019
“Many of us need to keep the conversation going,” Lemon added, noting that 44% of homeless gay youth are black and were likely kicked out of their homes. “It’s life or death. Someone like Kevin Hart, with one of the biggest megaphones in the world, can be a leader, the ultimate change agent. He can help change homophobia in the black community.”
“Apologizing and moving on does not make the world a better place for people who are gay or people who are transgender—being an ally does.”
“Kevin, no one is against you, no one said you should be fired,” Lemon concluded. “What they want for you is to bring light to this, to be an ally. So it is your chance right now to do the right thing, to change minds, and possibly save lives.”
“When did we get to the point where we forgot that we all learn, then we all have the ability to grow and with that growth comes a wealth of knowledge,” Hart posted Saturday on Instagram, seemingly responding to the Ellen interview backlash. “You can’t change without a understanding of what GROWTH means.”
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 4, 2019
Hart repeatedly made anti-gay comments in a series of tweets between 2009 and 2011, even threatening his son with violence if he caught him playing with dolls, and insulted various celebrities by calling them “gay” or “fag.”
“I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” Hart wrote last month on social media. “I am evolving and want to continue to do so.”
The 39-year-old entertainer initially failed to issue an apology, insisting he had addressed the situation “several times” already. On Instagram he told people to “stop looking for reasons to be angry,” claiming he would “stand his ground.”
The Oscars will be held February 24 but a replacement host has not yet been announced.
Hart’s latest movie, The Upside, is in theaters January 11.